Friday, August 31, 2018

The 2019 General & Special Education Conference - Seattle

March 5, 6 & 7, 2019

Thirty, Full-Day Courses will be offered at the Seattle event.

Some select autism-related courses:

Course #1 – The SCERTS Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Related Developmental Disabilities

Course #4 – iPad Boot Camp: Awesome New iPad Apps, Adaptations and Accessories

Course #5 – Combining Sensory and Mindfulness Strategies to Reduce Behavior Issues and Anxiety

Course #7 – Promoting and Coaching Executive Functioning in the Classroom

Course #16 – Practical Strategies for Implementing Social Skills in the Classroom and in Therapy

Course #18 – Practical Management of Tough Kids: An Evidence-Based Approach

Course #21 – Behavioral Assessment and Treatment of Students that Exhibit Self-Injurious Behavior and Related Disorders

Course #24 – Creating Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes

Find more information about the conference here.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Autism Spectrum Quotient Questionnaire

The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ) is a questionnaire published in 2001 by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK. Consisting of fifty questions, it aims to investigate whether adults of average intelligence have symptoms of autism or one of the other autism spectrum conditions.[1] More recently, versions of the AQ for children[2] and adolescents[3] have also been published.

Read more about the questionnaire here at Wikipedia. 

Find it here. 

Proposed revisions to global diagnostic manual for autism raise concerns

“The definition of autism in ICD-11 and the one in the DSM-5 are not identical, but they’re very, very close,” says Michael B. First, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and a member of the committee that drafted the mental and neurodevelopmental disorders chapter of the ICD. “So it’s not likely that there’ll be significant differences in who gets labeled.”
However, the ICD-11 diverges from the DSM-5 in significant ways.
Among the most popular features of the DSM-5 is its prominent treatment of sensory abnormalities — such as over- or undersensitivity to sound and touch — among people with autism. The definition of autism in the ICD-11, by contrast, makes no mention of sensory abnormalities.

“Sensory issues may well be near universal in autism,” says Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. “If true, we should count it as a core symptom of the umbrella category.”

Siblings Could Shed Light on Roots of Autism

When Erin Lopes’ son Tommy was 15 months old, she became alarmed when he stopped saying “yes” and “no” and holding her gaze. It wouldn’t be until he was three years old that Tommy was finally diagnosed with autism.
Tommy had two first cousins on the autism spectrum, so Lopes suspected it ran in families. So she was relieved when her daughter Evee Bak, who was born 17 months after Tommy, was talking in full sentences by her second birthday. The toddler appeared to not be on the autism spectrum—what autism advocates today call “neurotypical.”
Erin’s children exemplify a question that’s mystified scientists for decades: Given that autism, a developmental disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate and interact, is inherited in most cases, why do girls get it at much lower rates than boys? According to a 2011 study by an international team of psychiatrists and pediatricians, nearly one-fourth of brothers of autistic children were likely to be on the spectrum, but that rate dropped to 9 percent for sisters.
Scientists have historically focused on studying a “quartet” of two biological parents and two autistic children. Yet more recent research calls for learning more about the unaffected siblings – particularly girls. And in an era where researchers can map the human genome en masse—and have identified 100 genetic regions believed to be linked to autism—there is a need for lots of DNA data from autistic and neurotypical siblings alike.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Transition Toolkit Collection

From changes in school or work environment to changes in healthcare providers, transitioning can be both an exciting and a difficult time for individuals with autism and their families. Similarly, providers, such as educators, direct support professionals and specialists, may often wish they had the information necessary to help make these transitions as seamless as possible. Families and individuals are often thinking about and planning for transitions from the very beginning, and as individuals age, their needs may vary. Below you will find a collection of transition toolkits across the lifespan, organized by transition period from infancy through adulthood. This resource page is designed so you can find these toolkits in one place, making the journey a little easier. Click on the transition period you are interested in to view resources and toolkits available. 
Do you want to add a transition toolkit? Please contact us at or 

Are Motor Control and Regulation Problems Part of the ASD Motor Profile? A Handwriting Study

The primary aim of this study was to kinematically assess how children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) plan and control their handwriting actions. Forty-three boys aged between 8 to 12 years were included in the present analysis; 23 with ASD and 20 typically developing (TD) controls. Sophisticated objective and quantifiable assessment of movement metrics and dynamics was applied across a series of basic cursive handwriting sequences. Children with ASD demonstrated atypical control of handwriting metrics and dynamics, as well as significantly greater neuromotor noise relative to age-matched peers. They also engaged in less regular monitoring and regulation of their movement during the handwriting task. 

Overall, results revealed that even at a basic level, children with ASD appear to have a breakdown in their ability to control and regulate their handwriting movements. This has important implications for the school-aged child who constantly engages in handwriting tasks within the classroom environment and provides insight into possible directions for future intervention.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Diagnostic tests for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in preschool children

Primary objectives 
1. To identify which diagnostic tools, including updated versions, most accurately diagnose ASD in preschool children when compared with multi‐disciplinary team clinical judgement. 
2. To identify how the best of the interview tools compare with CARS, then how CARS compares with ADOS. 
a. Which ASD diagnostic tool ‐ among ADOS, ADI‐R, CARS, DISCO, GARS, and 3di ‐ has the best diagnostic test accuracy? 
b. Is the diagnostic test accuracy of any one test sufficient for that test to be suitable as a sole assessment tool for preschool children? 
c. Is there any combination of tests that, if offered in sequence, would provide suitable diagnostic test accuracy and enhance test efficiency? 
d. If data are available, does the combination of an interview tool with a structured observation test have better diagnostic test accuracy (i.e. fewer false‐positives and fewer false‐negatives) than either test alone? 

As only one interview tool was identified, we modified the first three aims to a single aim (Differences between protocol and review): This Review evaluated diagnostic tests in terms of sensitivity and specificity.

Authors' conclusions
We observed substantial variation in sensitivity and specificity of all tests, which was likely attributable to methodological differences and variations in the clinical characteristics of populations recruited. 
When we compared summary statistics for ADOS, CARS, and ADI‐R, we found that ADOS was most sensitive. All tools performed similarly for specificity. In lower prevalence populations, the risk of falsely identifying children who do not have ASD would be higher. 

The hidden danger of suicide in autism

Many people with autism entertain thoughts of suicide and yet show few obvious signs of their distress. Some scientists are identifying risks — and solutions — unique to autistic individuals.

Studies over the past few years hint that suicidal ideation is more common in people with autism than in the general population, but the estimates vary so widely that some experts say they are meaningless. Still, there is some evidence that autistic people are especially vulnerable to suicide: One 2015 study that mined Sweden’s large National Patient Registry found that they are 10 times as likely to die by suicide as are those in the general population. (Women with autism are particularly at risk, even though men are more so in the general population.)
Even when signs of suicidality are apparent, clinicians may dismiss them.

Accepting the Challenge: Effective Strategies for Students with Anxiety-Related Behavior

October 29, 2018

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four thirteen-eighteen year olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Understanding the role anxiety plays in a student's behavior is crucial and using preventive strategies are key to successful intervention. Effective behavior plans for these students must avoid the reward and punishment-based consequences from traditional behavior plans and focus instead on the use of preventive strategies and on explicitly teaching coping skills and alternative responses.

This workshop will translate clinical information into doable and easy-to-implement strategies, tools and interventions, for reducing anxiety, increasing self-regulation, executive functioning, and self-monitoring.

Find more information and register here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Is there a link between autism and PCOS?

In a three-pronged study, UK investigators tested the hypothesis that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is linked with autism because both conditions are associated with elevated prenatal testosterone levels.

In Study 1, the authors found that a significantly higher percentage of women with autism were diagnosed with PCOS than the controls (2.3% vs 1.1%; unadjusted OR: 2.01, 95% CI 1.22-3.30). In Study 2, autism was almost two times more prevalent in PCOS cases than in controls (0.10% vs 0.05%; unadjusted OR: 2.01, 95% CI 1.26-3.20). In Study 3, mothers with PCOS had higher odds of having a child with autism than the controls (unadjusted OR: 1.60, 95% CI 1.28-2.00).

Read more here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

ADOS II Booster Training

Lewistown - September 28th, 2018
Yogo Inn

9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This is a one day review of the ADOS 2 training complete with scoring practice and practical question review. Participants are required to bring their ADOS manuals for reference in scoring practice.
This workshop is presented by
Dr. Lauren Swineford.

Register here.

17 tips to help the transition back to school for kids with autism

1. Talk to your child frequently about what to expect in the upcoming year. It’s the simplest tip, and perhaps the most important one to help reduce your child’s anxiety.

2. Cross days off on your calendar. Some children may have anxiety about when the school year begins. Simply crossing days off the calendar may help your child better understand when the school year starts.

8. Write a letter outlining your child’s strengths, weaknesses, possible sensory issues, dietary restrictions, and favorite reinforcers. If possible, have your child help you create this document, as it will be invaluable input for school staff. Be sure to include a few things that are fun and unique about your child. A copy of this letter (one to two pages maximum) should go to your child’s teacher and aides, but should also be made available to any staff who work with your child. Remember to send a copy to the principal, assistant principal, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, physical education instructor, music teacher, etc. It is very helpful to teachers to have a “snapshot” of your child prior to instructing him or her. Don’t hesitate to brag as well!

Read more here at Autism Speaks.

Future Montana home for adults with autism

Proactive Living Facility , Inc is a Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3) Assisted Living Facility.   The facility will be a licensed, Christian based assisted living facility that will be located in Ronan, Montana, in the heart of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Reservation.  This facility will be either a new building or a comprehensively renovated building, specifically designed and equipped to meet the needs to adults with developmental disabilities in a comfortable, secure location, irrespective of race or health condition.
Proactive Living Facility is a non-profit organization with skilled staffing coming from the area with any and all skills needed to provide above-mentioned needs of our clientele. We firmly believe and are passionate in ensuring that the developmentally disabled population of adults ranging in age from 18 to 45 are not lost in a society that is lacking housing options and services that provide those needs.  Our main focus in this facility will be adults with autism.

ASHA Discourages Use of Facilitated Communication, Rapid Prompting Method

Underscoring the importance of scientifically defensible communication interventions and citing shared concern about harm that could stem from baseless practices, the Board of Directors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has unanimously approved position statements that discourage the use of Facilitated Communication (FC), the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), and similar practices such as Spelling to Communicate—techniques where “facilitators” ostensibly elicit communication from individuals with disabilities.
These position statements strongly encourage the use of effective augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. The statements do not apply to independent typing.

ASHA first cautioned against the use of FC in 1995. Since then, multiple systematic reviews—the highest level of scientific evidence—have continued to show that the “facilitator” is doing the communicating.  ASHA’s position statement says that RPM is not recommended because of prompt dependency and lack of scientific validity.

Read more here.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Family history of immune conditions and autism spectrum and developmental disorders: Findings from the study to explore early development

Using data from a large multi‐site study in the US—the Study to Explore Early Development—we found that women with a history of eczema/psoriasis and asthma are more likely to have children with ASD or DD. In addition, children with ASD are more likely to have a history of psoriasis/eczema or allergies than typically developing children. These data support a link between maternal and child immune conditions and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Read more here. 

Autism and DDT: What one million pregnancies can — and can’t — reveal

Analysis finds that prenatal exposure to the pesticide is associated with a higher risk of severe autism with intellectual impairment.

Mothers with high levels of the pesticide DDT in their blood during pregnancy are more likely to bear children who develop autism, according to a study of blood samples from more than one million pregnant women in Finland.

Brown's team found no correlation between the PCB by-product and autism. But when they measured DDT by-product levels in the blood samples, they found that mothers with high concentrations of this chemical — those in the top quartile — were 32% more likely than women with lower DDT levels to give birth to children who developed autism. The likelihood that a child with autism accompanied by intellectual disability was twice as high in mothers with elevated DDT levels compared to those with lower levels.

Read more here at Nature. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Conference - Montana Association for Applied Behavior Analysis

3rd Annual Fall Conference Agenda

September 13th & 14th

Great Northern Hotel

Helena, MT


Thursday, September 13th

11AM-1PM Registration (lunch on your own)

1PM               Welcome and Opening

1:15PM        Dr. Susan Schneider,  Operant Principles Everywhere: Interdisciplinary Behavior Analysis and the Future of Our Field"

Operant principles apply everywhere from simple invertebrates to Wall Street. It’s reassuring to observe how scientists and practitioners in related fields are increasingly discovering "our" operant principles and applications--with or without discovering our field and its established terminology, methodology, and practices. Like other sciences, ours has always been part of a larger interdisciplinary effort. Interdisciplinary work is arguably more important than ever: We now know how fully operant principles interact with others in the large and complex nature-and-nurture system, for example.

This talk takes stock of our field’s current interdisciplinary extensions, with their boundless opportunities. Our biological context includes significant advances in operant-related genetics and epigenetics as well as sophisticated neuroscience. When it comes to higher-order skills, the functional linguists are among many fellow travelers. In application, ever more randomized controlled trials are expanding our reach in the mainstream, even as our small-n designs are increasingly accepted (and even adopted). I will summarize selected advances in all of these areas, and discuss what behavior analysts can learn and how we can contribute. While interdisciplinary work entails some barriers to be surmounted, the benefits can be considerable, and they flow in both directions.

3PM               Update on Licensing in Montana

6PM-8PM    Evening Reception (TBD)

Friday, September 14th

7:30AM-9AM        Registration and Breakfast

9AM-12Noon        Dr. Lisa Coyne and Dr. Evelyn Gould-Part One

12Noon-1PM         MT ABA Chapter Meeting and Lunch

1PM-4PM                Dr. Lisa Coyne and Dr. Evelyn Gould -Part Two

4PM                     Closing and Thank you!

Register here.

Speaker Bios:


Susan Schneider corresponded with B. F. Skinner through an engineering career and a Peace Corps stint, ultimately obtaining her Ph.D. in behavior analysis (University of Kansas).  A research pioneer, she was the first to apply generalized matching to sequences and to demonstrate operant generalization in neonates.  Her publications also cover the history and philosophy of behavior analysis and she's championed the inclusive interdisciplinary "systems" approach to nature-nurture relations.  She's served on the JEAB and Behavior Analyst editorial boards.  Her trade book, The Science of Consequences, covers operant behavior, its larger nature-nurture context, and its full range of applications, receiving advance praise from experts in genetics, neuroscience, and economics as well as behavior analysis.  It earned a mention in top journal Nature, was a selection of the Scientific American Book Club, and won the 2015 Media Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis. Schneider's extensive book tour has crisscrossed the US and Europe. She is currently focused on applying behavior analysis to climate change mitigation.


Lisa W. Coyne, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked to improve the psychological well-being of children, teens and families for nearly 20 years.  After teaching as a tenured professor in the APA-Accredited Clinical Psychology at Suffolk University for 9 years, she is now on the Faculty of Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, where she founded the McLean Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI Jr.). She is a peer-reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Trainer, and a Faculty member of the Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI) of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on anxiety, OCD, and parenting and is the author of The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years.  She and Dr. Phoebe Moore are currently writing a book on treating adolescents with OCD and anxiety that is due out in 2018 with Guilford Press.

Evelyn Gould, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA, is a Clinical Behavior Analyst and Research Associate at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI-Jr) at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. The OCDI-Jr program provides residential level of care for adolescents struggling with treatment refractory OCD and related disorders. The program emphasizes evidence-based behavioral interventions, including ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). Dr. Gould currently works under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Coyne, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Researcher, and world-expert in ACT and the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders. Dr. Gould also continues to collaborate with FirstSteps for Kids, Inc. in Los Angeles, CA where she provides families and staff with clinical consultation, mentorship, and training. Dr. Gould has extensive experience working with children and adolescents with ASD (and their families) across settings, and has fulfilled a variety of clinical, training, and research roles in the USA, UK, and N.Ireland over the years. Dr. Gould remains passionate about the provision of high-quality clinical services for children, adolescents, and their families, and the dissemination of Behavior Analysis. Dr. Gould is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, and an Editorial Board Member for Behavior Analysis in Practice. Dr. Gould is also actively involved in a number of Special Interest Groups (SIGs), including the ABAI ACT and Psychological Flexibility SIG, the ACBS Children and Families